Mobile canner grows faster than expected

LONGMONT – The growth of MobileCanningSystems LLC’s affiliate program exceeded founders’ first-year projections, and 2014 is shaping up for 400 percent volume growth as more new companies jump onboard.

Longmont-based MobileCanningSystems was launched a year ago by MobileCanning Colorado co-founders Pat Hartman and Ron Popma as a way to assist other entrepreneurs around the country interested in starting similar businesses. The MCS affiliates provide production canning services to craft breweries, setting up onsite when beer is ready to be brewed and then loading the canning line back in the truck when finished to serve the next brewery.

MCS finished 2013 with 11 affiliates, including MobileCanning Colorado, though none but the local operation really got rolling until March. Hartman said Monday that four more affiliates are slated to launch this year, with “another five or so kicking the tires.”

“We were planning three by the end of 2012 and then really just one per quarter,” Hartman said of the faster-than-expected growth.

MCS affiliates are their own autonomous businesses that pay MCS for training and consulting on getting their businesses started. After they launch, their benefits of being part of the MCS family include things like gaining the power of buying cans and other supplies in bulk.

The 11 facilities serve 57 breweries across the United States to package 101 different labels. They combined to can more than 2.6 million beers in 2013, a number Hartman projects could eclipse 10 million this year given that current affiliates will be operating for the full year and there are new affiliates coming online. In addition to canning, MCS also offers can labeling in Colorado.

The MCS affiliates use WGC-250 canning lines made by Boulder-based Wild Goose Canning Technologies Inc. that have been modified for mobility.

MCS employs four people at its 1850 Left Hand Circle headquarters in Longmont. MobileCanning Colorado, which operates out of the same location, has accounted for much of the affiliate network’s boom so far, though Hartman declined to disclose revenue.

MobileCanning Colorado serves 15 Colorado breweries, including Fate Brewing and Boulder Beer in Boulder, Crystal Springs Brewing in Louisville, and Big Choice Brewing in Broomfield. MobileCanning Colorado is slated to add a second mobile canning line later this month, and Hartman said the local affiliate itself will fill about 2 million cans this year.

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